"For now we are young let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see" Neutral Milk Hotel.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A sunny hunny flower day

The day started with an early morning walk with the dogs at the east end of Ringstead Downs. In the short grass in the chalk pit the small plants of Thyme-leaved Speedwell were flowering. In the woods just out of the pit there were lots of plants of Sanicle, some with a few flowers fully open. (No camera with me on this walk).  Among the trees in flower were Beech, Pedunculate Oak and Wych Elm. My first flowering Prickly Sow-thistle of the year was by the edge of the path.
Back home and Andy had sent me an email asking to check out the "Wild Cabbage" on the cliffs at Hunstanton. So, after a quick lunch it was time for a walk through Hunstanton (not forgetting my camera!) starting at the cliff path. The "Wild Cabbage" certainly had large lemon flowers but also purple leaves - further observations will need to be made once there are some mature fruits present. There were plenty of other interesting plants present, most already blogged by Andy.  The blue-flowered iris is an escape - but could it be a bearded iris - it seems to have "a mass of stout hairs on the inner face of the outer sepals". I hadn't realised there were so much Duke of Argyll's Teaplant on the cliffs.
Duke of Argyll's Teaplant

Blue/Bearded Iris?

Next a walk along the prom to the wasteland which was the site of the Kit-Kat Club. I had found Musk Stork's-bill here 2 years ago and was pleased to find a number of plants of it again today - a much larger plant than the Common Stork's-bill and with much longer "bills".

Musk Stork's-bill

Up Park Road to the Community Field and Orchard. Just inside the gate/hole in the fence there were 3 clumps of Three-cornered Garlic - most unusual but well-named as it has very strongly three-angled stems.  In the hedge at the bottom of the orchard a Laburnum, Rowan and Whitebeam were all in full flower.
Three-cornered Garlic

Across to the Spinney to see Small-leaved Elms in flower. Then back to the car in Lincoln Square where Swedish Whitebeam and Evergreen Oak were flowering.
Back home to find an email from Phil describing a fantastic display of Meadow Saxifrage in Old Hunstanton Churchyard - best go and see them before the mower gets to them!. On arriving at the churchyard Phil is there and Andy arrives shortly after me. It was indeed a fantastic display, not only of Meadow Saxifrage but a good number of other species. A flower rich grassland worth keeping an eye on in future. Walking back to the car park we came upon Wavy Bitter-cress and one plant of Cuckooflower/Lady's Smock.

Meadow Saxifrage

Cuckooflower / Lady's Smock

Back home to update records!

Spring purrs along!

Took a ride down to Holme for a couple of hours this afternoon and it proved rather rewarding! First the beautiful "purring" of the rapidly declining Turtle Dove, I wonder how many more years are left that we will have this pleasure? Next up was a superb male Redstart flitting round on the edge of the forestry, nearby 5 Wheatear, plus 2 Whimbrel flew over. In the dunes several Small Copper, plus Peacock and Orange-tip. Still 8 Brents on Lavendar marsh.

Up on the NWT pools, c12 Ruff and on the way out a Common Sandpiper and 5+ Wheatear alongside the entrance track.

Finally at NWT there is a questionnaire about signage (or lack of it!), reserve facilities, I suggest all concerned fill it in. Did mine today!! 

Monday, 28 April 2014

An evening stroll

An evening stroll produced two new species in flower - Tree Mallow and what I believe is Wild Cabbage - on the cliffs at Hunstanton. I also took the opportunity to take a shot of the flowing Purple iris on the cliff face by the sailing club house.

Tree Mallow, Hunstanton, 28th April 2014

Purple Iris, Hunstanton, 28th April 2014

Wild Cabbage, Hunstanton, 28th April 2014

Monday 28th April 2014

By recent standards, a reasonable haul in the moth trap this morning:

Shuttle-shaped Dart 5
Nutmeg 1
Hebrew Character 1
Cabbage 1
Early Grey 1
Common Plume 1
Light Brown Apple Moth 2
Least Black Arches 2
Brindled Pug 1

Chris' trap held nothing at all but the NOA traps had about 6 Yellow Belles, 2 Muslin, 2 Pine Beauties , a Waved and Small Waved Umber, Cinnabar, Angle Shades, Powdered Quaker and a Red Twin-spot Carpet amongst others.

Plants new in flower today (for me) were Small-flowered Cranesbill (Ive certainly overlooked them amongst the Storksbill in the dunes until this morning), Sheep's Sorrel and Goatsbeard.

Birds were rather few and far between, with the first Whinchat perched on the North Field fences stealing the show, with back-up in the form of about 6 Wheatears and a few fly-over Yellow Wagtails. Two small parties of 5-6 Eider were close inshore and a lingering Great Crested Grebe was off Gore Point. A party of 12 adult Gannets heading westwards made a fine sight.

Sea Campion, Holme NWT, 28th April 2014

Columbine, Holme NWT, 28th April 2014

Muslin, Holme NOA, 28th April 2014

Yellow Belle, Holme NOA, 28th April 2014

Red Twin-spot Carpet, Holme NOA, 28th April 2014

Goatsbeard, Holme NWT, 28th April 2014

Sheep's Sorrel, Holme NWT, 14th April 2014

Adderstongue, Holme NWT, 28th April 2014

Least Black Arches, Hunstanton, 28th April 2014

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Redgate Hill

An afternoon walk up and down Redgate Hill, including the scrub to the west, produced 61 species of plants in flower.  This gave me a number new for the year including 8 new for the patch i.e. Sheep's Sorrel, Spotted Medick, Beaked Hawksbeard, Bladder Campion, Soft Brome, Barren Brome, Smooth Meadow-grass and Great Horsetail. There were lots of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock among the nettles in the scrub and bumblebees (Red-tailed, Buff-tailed, Common Carder and Tree) were busy visiting the flowers.  It was good to see the Yellow Meadow ants busy in their "hills" in the scrub area.
Great Horsetail

Spotted Medick

Bladder Campion

Yellow Meadow Ants (Photo June 2013)

27th April 2014

Plants new in flower (for me) today were Scarlet Pimpernel, Elder, Annual Wall Rocket, Barberry and White Bryony. Just three moths n my trap last night: a Waved Umber, a Shuttle-shaped Dart and an Early Grey. The NOA traps held a little more, including a Small Waved Umber, 2 Pine Beauty and the micro moth Coleophora albicosta.

Further to the new beasts reported by Robert, we also had our first Scorpion Fly of the year, 2 Cardinal Beetles, numerous Green Beetles Cassida viridiana along Green Bank and a series of yet-to-be identified beetles from Ringstead Downs.

Waved Umber, Hunstanton, 27th April 2014

Barberry, Ringstead Downs, 27th April 2014

Coleophora abicosta, Holme NOA, 27th April 2014

Green Turtle Beetle, Cassida vibex, Green Bank, 27th April 2014

Ladybird, Holme Marsh, 27th April 2014

Scarlet Pimpernel, Ringstead Downs, 27th April 2014

White Bryony,  Ringstead Downs, 27th April 2014

Scorpion Fly, Ringstead Downs, 27th April 2014

Barberry, Ringstead Downs, 27th April 2014

Common Oak Purple, Dyseriocrania subpurpurella, Green Bank, 27th April 2014

2 Spot Ladybird, Adalia 2-punctata, Ringstead Downs, 27th April 2014

11-spot Ladybird, Coccinella 11-punctata, Holme Marsh, 27th April 2014

Another 3 new ones for the year...

Large Red Damselfly, Holme Village 

Brown Argus, Ringstead Downs

Small Copper, Ringstead Downs

Bugs from the Patch today

I love it when we score with a wanted species - Pied Shieldbug in the back of the potter!

Presumably a 1st for the patch as will be I guess the Brassica Shieldbugs on Jack by the Hedge along the approach track to Ringstead Downs!?!  Andy found a Rhombic Leatherbug whilst searching for Blue Shieldbug (still no joy) and on the way back to the cars we recorded Green & Sloe Shieldbug.  Early in the day we had a Hawthorn Shieldbug along Green Lane.

Pied Shieldbug, Tritomega bicolor, Ringstead Downs, 27th April 2014

Brassica Bug, Eurydema oleracea, Ringstead Downs, 27th April 2014

Hawthorn Shieldbug, Ringstead Downs, 27th April 2014

Syromastes rhombeus, Ringstead Downs, 27th April 2014

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Saturday's visible migration over the cliffs - nice variety, no great numbers

Hunstanton Cliffs (Norfolk, England)
Saturday 26 April 2014   

Counting period: 6:20-7:50
Weather: wind ESE2, cloud-cover 3/8, temperature 9 ℃
Observers: Andy Brown
Little Egret-1Swallow108-Chaffinch2-
Dark-bellied Brent Goose-10House Martin1-Brambling3-
Lapwing1-Tree Pipit11-Greenfinch3-
Whimbrel4-Meadow Pipit16-Goldfinch34-
Mediterranean Gull2-flava wagtail sp.30-Siskin9-
Woodpigeon54-alba wagtail sp.1-Linnet21-
Collared Dove5-Jay1-redpoll sp.3-
Cuckoo-1Jackdaw15-Corn Bunting1-
Sand Martin16-Tree Sparrow2-

Totals: 364 individuals, 28 species, 1:30 hours

Bold = Remarkable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)
Comments: Also 9 Wheatears on the pitch and putt